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A Russian diplomat, expelled from Latvia last Monday, bribed local officials
A Russian diplomat, expelled from Latvia last Monday, bribed local officials to provide him with secret information, the Latvian interior minister said on Monday.

The ex-Soviet state expelled Russian Embassy official Alexander Rogozhin, accusing him of espionage. Moscow called the expulsion an "unfriendly act," promised retaliation and last Friday expelled a Latvian Embassy officer "for activities incompatible with his diplomatic status and damaging the country's national security."

"Rogozhin had been acquiring secret information," Marek Seglinsh said. "We will be able to give more detailed comments after a session of the ministry's security commission [scheduled for Wednesday]."

Earlier in the day Latvian President Valdis Zatlers said that the expulsion of a Latvian diplomat from Russia last week was an "appropriate" response to a similar move by Riga.

"It was quite an appropriate response to the expulsion of a [Russian] diplomat, and the incident can be considered resolved," the president told Latvia's National Television news channel.

The incident was the second time Latvia had expelled a Russian diplomat, sparking a retaliatory move from Moscow, since the Baltic state gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2004, the country expelled Pyotr Urzhumov. Russia then expelled Juris Poikans, first secretary of the Latvian Embassy.


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